Confusing Issues Regarding Freedom of Religion

Respected Friends,

Tashi Delek and we wish you a very good day. We are writing to share with you some of our thoughts, suggestions and good wishes in the Dharma. We know you are very busy and have a lot of work, but I hope you will take a little time to read our sharings.

As we all know, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the most famous religious leaders in the world today. This is because of many years of hard work, commitment, dedication and non-stop effort in reaching out to others. So many people everywhere have such big respect for His Holiness. His Holiness is so kind that he will help people in so many different ways. For different people, he means different things. For some people, His Holiness is a Guru; for other people, he is an advisor, or a leader, or a friend; for many people, he is simply a good Buddhist monk who is very inspiring and promotes the message of peace.

The whole world knows that the Dalai Lama accepts people from all parts of the world. He always says he accepts other religions, like Hudaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, agnosticism, atheism and all Buddhist traditions. He accepts everyone and allows everyone to see him, have audience and attend his talks and Dharma activities. The Dalai Lama is extremely kind.

However, there is one thing that is very confusing for many people. Everyone in the world from every culture, nation, religion are invited to join His Holiness’ teachings and Dharma activities. BUT people who practice Dorje Shugden are not allowed to join or come near in any way. This is very confusing and unfair, for many reasons. Please allow us to share and explain:

1. As a world famous religious leader and spiritual head of millions of people, we feel strongly that His Holiness should be open enough to allow everyone to join his world and sharings. If practitioners of Shugden are following such a “wrong, negative” way and they are so “bad”, then as Buddhist people, we should have even more compassion for them than normal.

It would be more skillful to allow Shugden followers to come to the Dalai Lama’s talks and activities. The Dalai Lama has a lot of wisdom and wonderful teachings. If Shugden people can listen to these teachings, then they will “realize” and understand more why they are “wrong”.

As a compassionate leader and religious teacher, it makes more sense for the Dalai Lama to keep these “wrong” people very close and give them more knowledge and education. Then, over time, they will have more knowledge and can make the decision to change. When you keep these people far away and tell them they cannot join the teachings, they will never realize they are “wrong” and they will just keep doing what is “wrong”.

2. Since His Holiness is such a powerful, famous religious leader, it does not look good for him to say that the whole world can join his talks except this small group of Shugden devotees. It makes him look biased, not compassionate, very closed, intolerant and unaccepting. Actually, of course this not true. We all know how compassionate and loving His Holiness is. But when he acts like this and excludes people, these actions appear opposite to his compassionate, enlightened nature. These actions have created a lot of doubt, confusion and sadness in many, many people’s minds.

3. Sometimes the Dalai Lama says there is no ban and he didn’t implement any ban. This is illogical and untrue. There is very clear evidence that the Dalai Lama supports and encourages this ban. See this video:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehl-310pXrA

If the Dalai Lama is giving us advice, he could just give the advice one or two times but not talk about it over and over again. And the Tibetan government and lay people also do not need to keep talking about it and making such a big issue from it.

And those who do not follow the Dalai Lama’s advice about Shugden should NOT be excluded or pushed away. After all, can we say that everyone who goes to the Dalai Lama’s teachings and every single Dalai Lama student is following all his advice perfectly and exactly? If they are really following everything that the Dalai Lama teaches, then everyone should be enlightened already! Is everyone so good and clean? We don’t believe this is the case. So it is not logical that you exclude only one small group of people who don’t follow only one part of the Dalai Lama’s advice.

4. The Dalai Lama is the political and spiritual leader of all Tibetans, not just a leader of a specific sect like the Gelugs or Sakyas etc. Whoever is the leader of Tibetans should love all Tibetans, have concern for all of them, and give them fair opportunities no matter what they choose to pray to. It is very unfair that monks from monasteries like Serpom or Shar Gaden cannot join Dharma teachings or community celebrations for Losar, Tibetan New Year. It should not matter what they practice. At the end of the day, they are still Tibetans, they are from the same society and country as you, they are the same people as you.

What about Tibetans who are Christians, Muslims or who don’t believe in anything the Dalai Lama teaches? Does it mean they cannot join cultural activities, events and gatherings because they do not pray the same way as the Dalai Lama? As the king of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama should embrace all Tibetans for who they are because they are Tibetans and not because of religion.

5. On the Dalai Lama’s official website www.dalailama.com there is a special section dedicated to Dorje Shugden, telling people not to practice. This is very bad! Where else in the world is there any religious leader or spiritual teacher who would have a special section on their official website to put down other people’s gods, religion and practices? It makes the Dalai Lama and all his people look so bad, so small-minded and unaccepting of other people.

Please take this section down from the Dalai Lama’s website. Also, please see other websites of very respected and famous spiritual leaders. You will see they do not have any such thing on their websites to criticize and discourage any other religious practice. See these websites for examples:

  • Mahatma Gandhi (www.mkgandhi.org)
  • The Pope (www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/index.htm)
  • Mother Teresa (www.motherteresa.org)
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (www.plumvillage.org/thich-nhat-hanh.html)

and the many holy venerable monks of all Buddhist traditions. The Dalai Lama is the only one in the whole world who has this section on his official publicity materials.

6. In fact, there has been no spiritual leader of the past and present who stops people going to meet them, talk to them, or attend their teachings, just because they do a certain religious practice. Spiritual leaders of their level accept, love and embrace everyone even if they have different views, thoughts and opinions. The Dalai Lama is definitely of the same level of these grand religious masters and we sincerely suggest that he also embraces everyone out of his great compassion, including Shugden practitioners.

7. His Holiness has openly said that his Gurus like Trijang Rinpoche were wrong by doing and teaching Shugden practice. (See this interview video www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMaP94D7CmU). If the Dalai Lama says that his Guru is wrong, then we can also say that the Dalai Lama who is our Guru is also wrong! The Dalai Lama starts a new trend that we can turn back to say our Guru is wrong and we know better than our Guru. How can His Holiness be right but his Gurus who taught him everything be wrong? Then you are also saying all the kind Gurus everywhere can also be all wrong!

Maybe you think that the Dalai Lama is the highest Lama of Tibet, but there are many, many other very high Lamas who are the same level as the Dalai Lama. Even the Dalai Lama respects them and acknowledges them as very high Lamas. For example, the previous 10th Panchen Lama was very famous for practicing Dorje Shugden. Is he also “wrong”? Are all the high Lamas wrong for so many hundreds of years?

8. A few years ago, His Holiness gave a special exception for H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche to practice Dorje Shugden (see this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWi1fJkTA9Q) But if Shugden is “wrong”, why would the Dalai Lama let the reincarnation of his own precious Guru practice something “so bad”? Maybe it is because the Dalai Lama said that Trijang Rinpoche has attainments and is at a high enough level to control such a negative spirit. This does not make sense. The Dalai Lama says Trijang Rinpoche has such great attainments but at the same time, he also says he is “wrong” for doing and spreading this practice.

Also, for many thousands of years in Tibet, Trijang Rinpoche was NOT the only high Lama who can control negative spirits. There are so many other grand masters who also have the attainments to control bad spirits E.g. All the Gaden Tripas, Zemey Rinpoche, Ling Rinpoche etc. Why don’t they have an exception to practice also? Why is Trijang Rinpoche the only one allowed to practice?

9. The Gaden Tripas are the representatives of Lama Tsongkhapa, selected in a democratic process and approved by the Dalai Lama. They are the complete leader of all Gelugpa teachings, practices and lineages, the head of all Gelugpas. You may claim that some Gaden Tripas did not follow Shugden practice but we can prove that there are also some Gaden Tripas who DO practice e.g. H.H. Gaden Trisur Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal of France who was the 101st Gaden Tripa.

Gaden Trisur is a great Lama, very respected, a very intelligent and wise scholar, very attained and a senior practitioner… and he also practices Dorje Shugden. How can someone so high and powerful, who represents Tsongkhapa, be wrong? Remember that this Gaden Tripa was also approved by the Dalai Lama! How can such a powerful, respected person like the Gaden Tripa make such a big mistake and pray to a demon? It does not make any sense.

10. Dorje Shugden practitioners who did not give up Shugden practice have made HUGE contributions in finances, effort, resources and skills to the monasteries, Tibetan society and Tibetan government. They have done this for many, many years, since Tibetans first came to India. If you are going to separate from all Shugden followers and don’t want anything to do with them, then don’t you think it would also be better and more “clean” for you to return every single item they have donated?

There are so many Rinpoches, Geshes and teachers who have given so much to the monasteries. They have raised funds, given money and help to build the monasteries and support Tibetan exile communities. However, because of the Shugden issue, these Lamas have been cut out from the monasteries, or they have joined Shar Gaden or Serpom. How can the Tibetan people throw out these Lamas and cut off contact, but keep all the things they gave? This means you are still using things and taking things from Shugden practitioners!

For example, Denma Locho Rinpoche offered almost all the funds that Drepung Loseling needed for their new temple. But everyone suspects that he has connection to Dorje Shugden people (Serkong Tritul Rinpoche) and have created so much trouble for him. Trijang Rinpoche offered so many statues and so much money to Gaden Shartse Monastery but everybody talks badly about him and don’t want to associate with him. But they keep all the money and statues! This is all a contradiction and you should return everything to these Lamas to be completely “clean”.

11. Everyone says that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very powerful and is an emanation of Buddha Chenrezig. So how can a spirit such as Dorje Shugden harm a Buddha like Chenrezig or shorten his life? If you say that a spirit shortens the Dalai Lama’s life, you are putting down the Dalai Lama. You are saying that a spirit is more powerful than the Dalai Lama. This is illogical. It is not a good thought to promote or make people have the idea that a spirit can harm Chenrezig – this is totally opposite to Buddha’s teachings.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is so powerful and has many very big attainments. So, why doesn’t he just do a jinsek (fire puja), torgya, binding ritual, control ritual or some puja to control and kill this bad “spirit” Shugden? Once the Dalai Lama controls this spirit, then nobody has to worry or talk about it anymore.

12. About 10 years ago, nine of the biggest Tibetan monasteries combined their energy together and at one time, did big fire pujas to completely kill and destroy Shugden. These monasteries included Namgyal Dratsang, Sera Je, Sera Mey, Drepung Loseling, and Gyume and Gyuto tantric monasteries. But after all these pujas were done by so many high Lamas to kill the “spirit”, Dorje Shugden is still alive. He is not destroyed.

In history, during the Great Fifth Dalai Lama’s time, the powerful Mindrolling Rinpoche was hired by the Dalai Lama to do big fire pujas to kill Dorje Shugden. Some people say they even smelled burning flesh which was proof that Dorje Shugden was killed. This does not make sense. If Shugden has been dead from that time, then why is the Tibetan government and all people still talking about him and still so scared of him?

What does all this mean? Is this “spirit” called Shugden more powerful than every single Dratsang, Geshe and Buddhist master in Tibetan society? Is this spirit more powerful than the Dalai Lama and all these Lamas? Actually, the only being who cannot be destroyed is a Buddha so this shows very clearly Dorje Shugden’s Buddha nature and enlightened mind.

13. Finally, since the Dalai Lama has spoken against Shugden practice, what benefits have the Tibetan society actually received from keeping this ban? Did you get independence or autonomy for Tibet? Did new powerful world leaders arise from Tibetan society? What benefit did you get?

There has been no benefit. Instead, families have been turned against each other. Friends are separated. Everyone is suspicious of everyone. Holy places like monasteries are divided. The Sangha is split. The Dalai Lama has to go to court. There is a bad international reputation for the Dalai Lama and his government. There is so much suspicion, doubt, hostility and anger within Tibetan Buddhism now.

Wasn’t it more peaceful, quiet, happy, communal and harmonious BEFORE the Dalai Lama put this ban on Shugden?

This letter is not meant to hurt anyone. We do not mean any offence or harm, but we wish to bring your attention to many issues which people are talking about and which are very confusing.

Actually, because of the ban, Dorje Shugden is becoming more and more well known throughout the world. The world’s media and so many Buddhists now know the name of Shugden and the practice is becoming bigger and stronger. Do not just consider the 24 Tibetan settlements and the few monasteries in India. These are very small, compared to how many people there are in the world who are NOT affected by the Dalai Lama’s ban and who are interested, educated and eager to learn more about Dorje Shugden.

We are very happy to send you this comic book to share with you the far-reaching and very beneficial results of Dorje Shugden’s blessings. Dorje Shugden will continue to grow. We will do everything we can to continue to fund activities and projects like this to bring awareness and education about his history, background and practice. We wish very much to make Shugden grow and become even more famous in the world.

Please accept that we do not mean any disrespect to His Holiness the Dalai Lama or any Tibetans or Buddhists. However, we believe strongly in the freedom of religion and acceptance by all religious leaders. We wish very much to make freedom and acceptance possible for people everywhere.

We all have different religions, views, backgrounds, thoughts and cultures, but despite our differences, we all still have to live in the world together. Because we have to live and work together in peace, we should not put down each others’ gods, practices and views. We should embrace each other because at the end of the day, we are all still human beings who just want love, respect, care and acceptance. Just because our religious views are different, it does not mean we cannot still be friends, have respect for each other and live happily in harmony together. This is the purpose of our letter.

With our prayers and best wishes,
dorjeshugden.com
dorjeshugden.net
xiongdeng.com

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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